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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, pioneering debut
The women die on Saturday mornings. They die horrifically and seemingly randomly. They are brutalised and strangled in their bedrooms by an intruder. This is all that is known. This is how they die.
When newly installed Dr Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner of Richmond, Virginia, gets a call at just after half past two in on Saturday morning, she knows even before...
Published on 31 Jan 2004 by RachelWalker

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid storywriting.
I read the Scarpetta books just after when they were originally published and it was with a somewhat feeling of nostalgia when I came across them the other day and decided to re-read them again.
It is hard to believe that this book was published about 14 years ago and the author's description of elements like computers and the internet or attitudes to smoking the...
Published on 19 Sep 2004 by Rich Milligan


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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, pioneering debut, 31 Jan 2004
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
The women die on Saturday mornings. They die horrifically and seemingly randomly. They are brutalised and strangled in their bedrooms by an intruder. This is all that is known. This is how they die.
When newly installed Dr Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner of Richmond, Virginia, gets a call at just after half past two in on Saturday morning, she knows even before she answers the phone that a fourth woman has died. Though deeply distressed at the actions of this latest devious, unfathomable serial killer, all Scarpetta herself can do for the victims is to let them speak through her to help catch he who is responsible. Diligently she performs her morbid task, investigating the bodies of the fatally wronged, even though not all are pleased that she occupies this job.
There's little doubt that this is one of the most successful debut novels of all time, winning a plethora of awards upon its release and still drawing people into the series even today, and I am sure it will continue to do so. It deserves too, as well. Post-mortem is a cunning, powerful, emotional and clever debut from a woman who is now the most successful (not to mention wealthy!) female crime writer in the world. With this book Cornwell pretty much created an entire new genre, and blew out the gates for a new generation of writers to follow her through. None of them are quite as good, though. None have ever matched the quality or the fascination of the so-well-described forensic detail, none have ever managed to create a more interesting and complete character than Scarpetta, who still develops to this day, thanks to Cornwell's ability to keep her series growing in different directions. They haven't always been universally popular directions, changes, but I feel they must be commended just for the fact that Cornwell has refused to write carbon-copies of this first book all through her career. God knows, she could have done, but I'm sure that lots of readers would by now be sick of them.
The plotting here is slick and easy, the personal contexts and conflicts nudge the quality even higher, and the writing has autumnal grace in it. She can also find the stark bleak poetry of a dead body.
There's no doubt that Cornwell has found her unique place in the crime fiction Hall of Fame, as has Scarpetta, the most fascinating and complex female protagonist in the entire genre. Currently, it is very much in vogue to criticise Cornwell, and from what I can see this is almost solely because the most recent novels - Scarpetta or otherwise - are just different. But, whatever you think of them, Post-mortem is a brilliant forensic thriller, and it always will be.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Postmortem, 19 July 2003
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What a great read! The first book I read in the Scarpetta series was Unnatural Exposure and I was hooked...had to have more. Since then I've started at the begining of the series with Postmortem and got to know the characters better before moving on to another crime scene. There have been some negative reviews on this book that have really surprised me. The whole series is fabulous. I have a degree in a medical field so maybe I "get it" more than someone without a medical background. Who knows. I do recommend starting from the beginning of the series. Each book is a completely different crime, but the characters' lives pick up where they left off. Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Postmortem, 27 May 2012
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   
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This is the first novel in the long running Dr Kay Scarpetta series. When we meet Scarpetta she is forty and has recently become the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. She is currently involved in a series of murders; women who have been strangled in their own bedrooms. Nothing seems to link the victims and Scarpetta feels that Detective Marino is looking in the wrong direction when he suspects the latest victims husband.

A large part of the success of this series, I feel, are the characters around Scarpetta which give her depth. Her ten year old niece, the irresponsible sister and unhappy mother, relentless reporter Abby Turnbull, the delightfully rumpled Detective Marino and the resentful Commissioner all help make us care about what happens. When leaks to the press about the cases are seemingly linked to her office, Scarpetta finds she is under fire from Commissioner Amburgey and the case also causes problems with her 'sort of' relationship with ultra handsome and slick Commonwealth Attorney Bill Boltz.

As other reviewers have pointed out, the ending does feel a little rushed. However, it is worth bearing in mind that this novel is the only book to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony and Macavity awards, as well as the French Prix du Roman d'aventure in a single year. It is, undoubtedly, a good introduction to a successful series and, although you sense niece Lucy could quickly become a little wearing, the main characters are generally sympathetic and well written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Promising Start To A Series, 4 April 2009
By 
Simon Savidge Reads "Simon" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Postmortem was Patricia Cornwell's first published novel and was also the first in what has become the multi-million copy shifting Kay Scarpetta series. In Richmond, Virginia a serial killer seems to be on the loose three women have died and as we join the story Dr Kay Scarpetta has been woken with the news there is now a fourth. Now it's a race against time and more killings for these crimes to be solved and the killer to be caught. Scarpetta is not the detective in the scenario though she is the Chief Medical Officer and through this we get a lot more of the science of crime scene investigations (which of course with the TV now is an incredibly popular angle though this book came out long before) as well as the detective work to find the killer.

While all this goes on of course we are given an insight into the personal life of Scarpetta which isn't simple either. She cannot stand the detective (Marino) with whom she has to liaise with on these cases. It appears her peers and bosses aren't sure that as a woman she is capable of the job. One of her peers has become a very complicated possible lover. On top of that she has her niece staying with her who thinks of Scarpetta as a surrogate mother. That's a lot of stuff going on. Yet oddly, despite the fact you have all this I didn't feel like I knew who Scarpetta was. I know she liked to garden and she liked to cook, though I wondered how she had time, and that her family history is Italian. That was about it maybe that will come with the books as I go further along the series which is something I definitely intend on doing.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars if you don't know who Kay Scarpetta is where have you been?, 23 Sep 2000
By A Customer
From the first page you are thrown into a story that has you believing it is real, this book is the taste of Patricia Cornwell that has you completely hooked and anticipating the next Scarpetta story, we see a Medical Examiner at work whilst all around there is murder and mayhem...but can you guess the ending before it happens ? Patricia Cornwells' books are not for the faint hearted, they are for those who are interested in crime, murder and medicine. Once you have picked up this book you'll find it difficult to put it down.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid storywriting., 19 Sep 2004
By 
Rich Milligan (Thatcham, Berkshire) - See all my reviews
I read the Scarpetta books just after when they were originally published and it was with a somewhat feeling of nostalgia when I came across them the other day and decided to re-read them again.
It is hard to believe that this book was published about 14 years ago and the author's description of elements like computers and the internet or attitudes to smoking the workplace (or even women in the workplace!) seem incredibly outdated but also give great atmosphere and feeling to the setting of the novel.
The book is easily readable and is a fine story, and as the first in the Scarpetta series introduces the reader to the other major characters of the series like Kay's niece Lucy and Sgt Pete Marino, who must be one of the all time great thriller creations ever.
Alas, somehow I remember this as a brilliant book from the first time I read it but this time is was slightly disappointing and it didn't satisfy the way it once did. As I said before it is easily readable but doesn't have the "edge of your seat" thrill factor necessary. There's no building of tension and at times reading it becomes just an exercise in finishing the book to find out who "did it". The interplay between the characters is worthwhile but the story needs more thrills and spills to become compulsive reading.
I fully intend the re-read the whole Scarpetta series and I did enjoy meeting these old faces again, I guess though, in the intervening 14 years the standard for thrillers advanced.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Postmortem, 14 Feb 2009
A friend bought me the first five books in Patricia Cornwells Kay Scarpetta series. Postmortem was a brilliant book. I think Scarpetta is a well balanced and well developed character. I found the plot of the book very intriguing and it really did leave me guessing until the very end. I also like the relationship between Scarpetta and Marino. Overall I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to reading the rest of the Kay Scarpetta series. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Postmortem, 7 Oct 2010
By 
Neil Johnstone (Orkney Islands, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This is my second read of this book after having read the complete series. It still had me reading to the last page. I feel that in her early works the style of writing in the first person was much better than later when she changed to writing in the third person. Why the change? I don't know but the stories are just as gripping and compel you to keep reading.Great stuff!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent crime thriller, 28 Feb 2008
By 
Lance Mitchell (Hampshire, UK, Northern Hemisphere, Planet Earth) - See all my reviews
Dr Kay Scarpetta has a difficult job on her hands investigating a series of horrific murders where the victims are all well-heeled young women. All of them are found naked, bound and strangled in the early hours of Saturday morning.

As she unravels the forensic clues with the brash detective, Pete Marino, her task is made even more difficult as it appears that legal officials, who should be on her side, suspect her of compromising evidence and leaking to the press. The case is made even more complex when it appears that her ten-year-old niece, Lucy, has become involved. To cap it all, it looks like the perpetrator could have inside knowledge of the investigation.

The reader is kept guessing almost to the very end of the book. The suspense is never-ending. That's the way that a good crime thriller should be, and this is one believe me!
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very believable fiction, 28 Oct 2003
By A Customer
I recently read this book on holiday in Florida and it kept me enthralled on the beach where I am usually a little bored. As an ex police officer I could immediately see that Ms Cornwell puts a great deal of research into the forensic aspect of the work which pays off. I enjoyed the picture painted of the main police officer who fits the profile of many old style detectives, and it is the interplay between his cynicism and Dr Scapiettas forensic knowledge which provides a good deal of reader enjoyment. I did feel that the ending was a little rushed and could have been strung out a bit more, with perhaps an insight into the mind of the killer. The manner of targeting of the victims by the killer was wholly believable and possible. A good read and I look forward now to going through her other offerings.
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Post-Mortem (Kay Scarpetta Mysteries)
Post-Mortem (Kay Scarpetta Mysteries) by Patricia Cornwell (Mass Market Paperback - 29 Dec 2009)
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